Cross 'considering’ treasurer bid, aims to remain leader until October
August 21, 2013 12:40PM
Updated: August 23, 2013 6:02PM
SPRINGFIELD-House Minority Leader Tom Cross told House Republicans Wednesday morning that he is “considering” a run for state treasurer in the 2014 election cycle and wants to remain leader of the caucus until early October, legislative sources confirmed. Cross’ move for a possible run for statewide office could bring an end to his lengthy run as the top Republican in the Illinois House, which began in 2002. He is the second most-tenured legislative leader in Springfield behind House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago). In a statement, Cross said he had “shared with my colleagues in the House Republican Caucus my sincere appreciation for all of their support, hard-work and repeated confidence in me to serve as the House Republican Leader for the last 10 years. Serving as House Republican Leader has been an immense privilege and a humbling honor and I will forever cherish the friendships, the successes and yes, even the battles.” “As I consider the challenge of serving Illinois at a higher level, I did ask my colleagues in the House Republican Caucus to begin the process of a succession plan so that a new leader may be chosen in preparation for the 2014 elections. I will be announcing my plans within the next two weeks and I remain committed to adding members to the House Republican Caucus.” The Oswego Republican had contemplated a bid for attorney general this year until those plans were thwarted by Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s announcement in July she was seeking re-election. Cross, regarded as a moderate Republican since being seated in the Illinois House in 1993, is positioned to seek an office that in recent Illinois political history has been friendly to Republicans. Since 1994, the GOP has won the post in four out of five election cycles. If Cross enters the treasurer’s race, he figures to be the better known Republican. DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan is also exploring a run for treasurer. If Cross were to emerge from a GOP primary, he likely would face state Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) in a general election. Cross’ tenure as the top Illinois House Republican has been marked by political frustration. Since taking over from former House Minority Leader Lee Daniels in 2002, Cross has toiled under a Democratic legislative map and has failed to amass a majority over five consecutive election cycles. The closest he came was in 2010, when Republicans hoped to capitalize on the political vacuum left by Blagojevich’s 2009 impeachment and ouster from office. But the House GOP took 54 House seats, well short of the 60 needed to wrest control of the House gavel from Madigan. Cross’ poorest electoral showing came in the 2012 cycle, when Republicans held onto only 47 seats, giving Madigan and the House Democrats a rare veto-proof majority and making the House GOP nearly irrelevant. Cross, 55, was stymied in his bid to bring about pension reform. He lent his name to a series of efforts to reel in state pension benefits to solve Illinois’ $100 billion-plus pension crisis. But his efforts weren’t strong enough to break through deep-seeded legislative inertia on the issue that pitted Madigan against Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and get a package to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk. If Cross relinquishes his leadership slot in October, his move will yield a succession battle that is now believed to be focused on state Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and Rep. Raymond Poe (R-Springfield).
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